How to Tell the Time in Chinese
Telling the time in Chinese is a useful and pretty easy tool to add to your armour.
FIRST HACK – Time in Chinese is 时间 shí jiān.
There’s your first word, but before going any further, you want to get the numbers in Chinese down. These are important, surprisingly!
Once you have these locked in, you open up a whole wealth of possibilities which we will soon make very clear to you!
So let’s get those numbers down:
Just to recap those numbers are:
|0||零 / 〇||Líng|
Let’s dive into the world of Time in Chinese now then…
Telling the Time in Mandarin – The Days
Telling the Time in Mandarin – The Months
Telling the Time in Mandarin – The Clock
Telling the Time in Mandarin – Useful Phrases and Words
Time in Chinese – Days of the Week
So once you’ve got those numbers stored into the memory bank, the days of the week couldn’t be much easier.
We don’t need to learn 7 separate words, we need to learn one word, and add a number onto the end of it!
星期一 xīngqī yī (Monday)
星期二 xīngqī èr (Tuesday)
星期三 xīngqī sān (Wednesday)
星期四 xīngqī sì (Thursday)
星期五 xīngqī wŭ (Friday)
星期六 xīngqī liù (Saturday)
星期天 xīngqī tiān (Sunday)Really not that bad, right?
The keyword you are looking for here is 星期 xīngqī.
After this we simply add the number, with Monday representing one, through to Saturday which is six.
Bare in mind Sunday is not numbered, but 天 is used instead. This is the only exception to the rule.
There are variations to 星期 xīngqī which also include 周 zhōu and 礼拜lǐbài.
Again, you just add the number onto the end so Monday can actually be
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And some other useful vocab relating to time in Chinese for you…
- 今天 jīntiān (Today)
- 昨天 zuótiān (Yesterday)
- 明天 míngtiān (Tomorrow)
- 前天 qián tiān (2 days ago)
- 后天 hòu tiān (2 days ahead)
- 大前天 dà qián tiān (3 days ago)
- 大后天 dà hòu tiān (3 days ahead)
Note the vocabulary covers all seven days of the week, useful indeed!
Time in Chinese – Months of the Year
The numbers game continues here.
Do you know 1 to 12 in Chinese? (hopefully yes having gotten this far)… well congratulations, you inadvertently also know the months in Chinese.
Similarly to days of the week, months work the same we simply need to learn one word:
月 yuè (Month)
So, can you guess how to say April in Chinese:
sì yuè 四月 – literally translating to 4th month. Super simple!
Here is the full list of months of the year in Chinese?
yīyuè 一月 (January)
èryuè 二月 (February)
sānyuè 三月 (March)
sìyuè 四月 (April)
liùyuè 六月 (June)
qīyuè 七月 (July)
bāyuè 八月 (August)
jiŭyuè 九月 (September)
shíyuè 十月 (October)
shíyīyuè 十一月 (November)
shíèryuè 十二月 (December)
Before moving on to the clock, we recently wrote a fascinating article about time zones and time in China.
China is a big country right, but how many time zones are in China?
You’d be surprised at the answer, find it here
Time in Chinese – The Clock
FIRST HACK – Clock in Chinese is 时钟 shí zhōng.
Telling the time is pretty simple in Chinese, again the numbers are the key, the other vocabulary provide nothing too taxing.
The keywords are:
点 diǎn and 半 bàn. The former actually means point, but it is used to express O’Clock. The latter means half.
Let’s see them in action.
- 一点 yī diǎn (1 O’Clock)
- 七点 qī diǎn (7 O’Clock)
- 九点 jiǔ diǎn (9 O’Clock)
- 十二点 shí’èr diǎn (12 O’Clock)
- 两点半 liǎng diǎn bàn (Half Past 1)
- 十点半 shí diǎn bàn (Half Past 10)
It’s simply a case of number + 点 or 半 = end result!
OK, time to move onto other times the clock will show:
- 十点十分钟 shí diǎn shí fēnzhōng (10 Past 10 / 10:10)
- 十一点二十五分钟 shíyī diǎn èrshíwǔ fēnzhōng (25 Past 11 / 11:25)
- 三点四十分钟 sān diǎn sìshí fēnzhōng (40 Minutes Past 3 / 3:40)
DID YOU KNOW – A quarter can be defined using 刻 kè so 4:15 can be stated using two methods:
- 四点一刻 sì diǎn yī kè
- 四点十五分钟 sì diǎn shíwǔ fēnzhōng
Choose as you please!
Now for more very handy words for telling the time in Chinese.
小时 xiǎo shí (Hour)
分钟 fēn zhōng (Minute)
秒 miǎo (Second)
早上 zǎo shang (Morning)
中午 zhōng wǔ (Noon)
下午 xià wǔ (Afternoon)
晚上 wǎn shàng (Evening)
半夜 Bàn yè (Midnight)
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Time in Chinese – Useful Phrases
So we can tell the time in Chinese, we know the days in Chinese, and the months in Chinese.
All great progress.
Now let’s move onto some useful phrases that might come in handy for you, all related to time.
- 现在几点 ? xiànzài jǐ diǎn?
- What’s the time?
- 我早上7点起床. wǒ zǎoshang 7 diǎn qǐchuáng.
- I wake up at 7am.
- 我在下午4点下班. wǒ zài xiàwǔ 4 diǎn xiàbān.
- I finish work at 4pm.
- 对不起，我迟到了. duìbùqǐ, wǒ chídàole.
- Sorry, I am late.
- 请准时到达. qǐng zhǔnshí dàodá.
- Please arrive on time.
- 不要迟到！bùyào chídào!
- Don’t be late!
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- 我们的航班在 _pm 出发. wǒmen de hángbān zài _pm chūfā.
- Our flight departs at _pm.
- 我们的火车到达 _pm. wǒmen de huǒchē dàodá _pm.
- Our train arrives at _pm.
- 什么时候是去中国的最佳时间？shénme shíhòu shì qù zhōngguó de zuì jiā shíjiān?
- When is the best time to travel to China?
Time in Chinese – FAQ’s
How do you say “What is the time” in Chinese?
What is the time in Chinese is 现在几点? xiànzài jǐ diǎn?
How do you say “Clock” in Chinese?
Clock in Chinese is 时钟 shí zhōng.
How do you say “Morning, Afternoon, Evening” in Chinese?
Morning, Afternoon and Evening in Chinese are 早上 zǎo shang (Morning), 下午 xià wǔ (Afternoon) and 晚上 wǎn shàng (Evening).
How do you say “Second, Minute, Hour” in Chinese?
Second, Minute and Hour in Chinese are 秒 miǎo (Second), 分钟 fēn zhōng (Minute) and 小时 xiǎo shí (Hour).
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